Her foremost and pressing problem was of income and insurance. She figured that she would approach the HR people after the meeting with the lawyer. And all that would have to wait until Monday anyway. A little more organizing and a satisfying dinner took all the energy she had left. She made the bed and hung her new clothes still warm from the dryer in the closet before going to sleep. Again she woke before the alarm. Monday was just the beginning. Showered and dressed in what she called her “power outfit” she was ready to take on the world. She had a short moment of hesitation when she spotted her reflection in the car window. A deep breath and she conquered her trepidation.
She slid into the car; the red pants punctuation for her new style. The heavy black coat had new life with a bright scarf and large brooch turning it from pseudo military to trendy fashion statement. She gave herself a pep talk on the drive to the law office. She tried to remember that perky woman’s name but it wouldn’t come. She was going to have to try harder to keep track of those kinds of details. Once at Polder and Swale, the perky woman didn’t offer her coffee but instead offered cookies and the big bowl of chocolates. She screwed up her courage and admitted she couldn’t remember the perky woman’s name. A pleasant conversation resulted and Lu admitted that her name was not George but Lucile and she committed Lily’s name to memory.
When the lawyer came in Lu laid out the events on Friday. She produced the audio recording. The lawyer at first was uninterested but after hearing the recording and again asking the name of the company, he was practically salivating. He called in a couple of other attorneys and they listened to the recording. Lu didn’t understand exactly what they were discussing among themselves but she could feel the excitement. She finally interrupted their conversation with the simple question, “Is there anything you can do to help me?” Mr. Swale didn’t look blasé anymore. His eyes were shining as he responded, “Ms. Dupin, what do you want us to accomplish? Do you want your job back, a large settlement for wrongful termination or a judgement against them for discrimination?” Lu wasn’t sure what she really wanted but it all sounded good so she replied, “Yes.” Mr. Swale nodded as he looked around at his colleagues. “Very well, we’ll take this on. I’ll have Ms. Przybyszewski come in and explain the fee schedule and get some additional information.” With that he gave her a toothy smile that had a touch of sinister at the corners and left the room.
It had all happened so quickly that she felt dizzy. She leaned back in her chair and contemplated the chocolates. Throwing caution to the wind, she dug down to the dark chocolate truffle and was soon biting it in half. She had to laugh a little because as soon as she popped the other half into her mouth, Lily appeared. That was her usual luck. It was reassuring to know that some things were the same. She was given a huge stack of papers to sign which she took her time reading before putting her signature on the bottom. Then Lily explained all the documentation that the law office would need from the company. She cautioned Lu not to mention having consulted with a lawyer to the HR department. She also gave Lu a print out of those things she was legally entitled to have including copies of all her job performance reviews. The perkiness in Lily was replaced with efficiency and Lu could now appreciate her help. Finally she finished and was ready to leave when Lily advised her to take the initial COBRA insurance HR would offer. When Lu pressed her for a reason Lily replied that at least for the next 18 months she would be covered. Lily made it clear that some of these cases dragged on for years. It was disheartening to think that she would need to try to find a new position while the specter of this last job hovered in the background. As she left, she grabbed a couple more chocolates for the road.
Lu is getting serious about getting even. Although it is satisfying to fantasize about strangling her boss or maybe just slashing the tires, Lu is a law abiding citizen. She may rant about how stupid her species is on the whole and how stupid certain individuals may be, but she is no criminal. She is civilized. She is going to sue the pants off them!!
I would be remiss if I didn’t ask that as you finish reading this blog you take a moment to pause and reflect on the events that occurred on this date in 2001. I continue to pray for peace and justice…